Long before Mike Pence was Donald Trump's rumored vice presidential pick, he was writing a series of strange columns for his personal website.
The 1990s archive of MikePence.com bears all the signs of an ancient internet relic. None of the elements align quite properly. There are buttons showing blue text casting a red shadow. The left-hand navigation bar is in comic sans, and has a double-red strip running through it, making it almost unreadable.
The now-defunct website, available thanks to the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, shows a more candid version of the potential VP. For years, Pence used MikePence.com to post a series of opinion pieces covering subjects from running a negative campaign to his thoughts on the film Titanic.
Pence has never been shy about his conservatism, but these early essays show him before he mastered the more reserved language of a professional politician.
The essays on the site include:
A note on this essay states that it was originally published in 1991, shortly after a failed attempt to unseat Democratic Rep. Phil Sharp. The article mostly consists of Pence renouncing negative campaign strategies he used in that election, while still slipping in a few digs at his political enemies.
That is the advice political pros give to Republican and Democratic candidates alike, even though negative ads sell better for Democrats (my admittedly biased explaination[sic] is that Republican voters disregard a Democrat's negative ads as 'predictable' while expecting a Republican to be 'above that sort of thing').
What was Pence's big negative bombshell that so soured him on the campaign strategy? Well, according to the essay, he said his opponent "might or might not have profited from the sale of his family farm." Scandalous!
Spoiler alert: the Clinton he is referring to did not resign, but he was impeached. This essay retreads many of the popular Republican arguments for removing Bill Clinton from office in the late 90s.
It might seem like ancient history, but leaked plans for the 2016 Republican National Convention show the GOP plans to make the scandals of Bill Clinton's presidency an issue in its attempt to take on Hillary Clinton. Pence may be pulling out this essay as we speak to catch up on his two-decade-old talking points.
This is one of the stranger entries on Pence's old site, as he attempts to draw a tortured political metaphor out of the wild popularity of James Cameron's hit film Titanic.
Long story short: the Titanic is present-day America. The docks are America's cherished values now being left behind. The engine is government regulation. The man who yells "Iceberg dead ahead" is an economist. Pence doesn't say what the iceberg is.
I hope you enjoyed Mike Pence's Titanic metaphor. It ended up working out as well as the Titanic (the ship, not the movie).
Here's what Mike Pence thinks about smoking.
Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn't kill.
What else is there to say?
Pence appears to have written this essay shortly after the drafting of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which was negotiated in 1992 in an attempt to curb global warming. The U.S. signed the protocol but never ratified it, thanks to congressmen like Mike Pence.
Pence runs through many of the myths about the environment that climate change deniers repeat to this day. The Earth is cooling, not getting warmer. Increased greenhouse gasses are from volcanoes and other humans and can't be attributed to humans. Carbon dioxide is a natural part of the atmosphere, so it's fine if there's more of it. 20 years later, the planet is getting hotter and deniers haven't changed their tune much at all.
Pence seems to have been in a bad place when he wrote this article. Despite his well-documented efforts to take down Bill Clinton, Democrats had just gained five seats in the midterm election—only the second time the presidential party has gained seats in a midterm election since the Civil War.
Pence was trying to address how he stayed positive in the face of such dismal political news and it seems his answer was mostly to blame his own party.
The GOP managed to take an election whose backdrop was an adulterous leader who had lied, in finger-wagging fashion, to the American people for seven months and lose it.
Now, to add insult to injury, the paciderm party is beginning to eat it's young. The blame-ocracy has concluded that social conservatives, read that pro-life, pro-family voters, were the cause of the party's troubles.
If only there was some way to visit 1998 Mike Pence and tell him to cheer up! He's only a few years away from being elected to Congress under a Republican president and his political career only goes up from there. If the reports turn out to be true, he's going to be the GOP candidate for vice president.